Govan's brigade and move on the Chattanooga road and engage the enemy in his rear. This was about eleven o'clock. After moving forward a short distance I ordered Colonel Govan to change direction to the left, which he did, finding the enemy in some woods after passing a small field, and pushing him back to the open ground in rear of the left of his fortifications. This was about half a mile in advance of Gist's brigade and on the Chattanooga road, cut off from all connection with any of our forces. After a severe engagement, in which the enemy gave way opposite the right and pressed forward in large force on the left of the brigade, thus apparently designing to cut him off, Colonel Gowan was forced to retire rapidly to avoid destruction. For the part taken by General Walthall after he was detached from me I refer to his report. On reaching the cover of the timber by a circuitous detour to the right, the brigade was halted and re-formed, and soon afterwards was joined by General Walthall's command from the left of Gist's. We were ordered now to remain in line, awaiting further orders. About six P. M. Lieutenant-General Hill ordered me to move straight forward and occupy the Chattanooga road. I requested General Hill to support me on the left, as I was satisfied from personal observation during Colonel Govan's attack that I would be enfiladed. This he said he would give me, and I moved off at once. The line had passed some little distance beyond the Chattanooga road, meeting with little or no resistance to that point, when, as expected, it was enfiladed by batteries on both flanks, whilst a battery in front played upon it across a waste field. I immediately placed seven pieces of artillery on a high point on the right of General Walthall's brigade, which held the right wing, to engage the enemy's batteries and draw the fire, if possible, from the infantry. My line was parallel with the enemy's works and in his rear, upon his left flank, nearly half a mile. Here I had halted and ordered the men to lie down, no enemy just then appearing in front. There was a wide open field in front and on my left. The enemy soon after this apparently left his works and pressed upon the rear of my left flank, whilst his batteries enfiladed me. Soon afterwards a cloud of skirmishers suddenly emerged from the woods, encirling my front and right wing. From the combination of attacks, my command was forced to withdraw to avoid being captured. A part of my skirmishers were nevertheless captured, together with Colonel Scales, Thirteenth Mississippi regiment, Walthall's brigade. The Federals had left their works, at this time, in retreat from the field, and our whole line was moving upon them. After reforming my command I moved to the position of the Chattanooga road, near McDonald's house, where it bivouacked on the ground it was ordered to hold. At ten o'clock, Sunday night, my scouts reported that the enemy had entirely withdrawn from the field and disappeared toward Lookout Mountain. In these five different engagements, in the space of three days, I lost a great many officers and men; my loss being one hundred and sixty-two killed, nine hundred and sixty-three wounded, and two hundred and seventy-seven missing; total, one thousand four hundred and four; out of an effective total in both brigades of three thousand one hundred and seventy-five before action. The attack of the enemy being aimed at our right wing, his force was necessarily large to accomplish his object, and, in every instance, overpowered me with numbers. In no instance, in the last two days fight, did we make an attack without being flanked by the overlapping lines of the enemy; and, although forced to give way four different times, serious and heavy loss was inflicted upon the Federals in each attack, and the command always promptly rallied to renew the engagement. In connection with Sunday evening's affair, it is proper for me to state that the force which was reported by General Forrest, about four P. M., to Lieutenant-General Hill to be moving from the direction of Chattanooga, in support of the enemy's left flank, took its position in the edge of the woods on the opposite side of the waste field in my front, supported its batteries on my right flank and front, and, during the last engagement, threw forward its skirmishers, which, co-operating with the attack on my left and rear and the enfilading fires of their artillery, kept every movement of their own side in view as well as our own. This force retired with the balance of the enemy at dusk, having apparently accomplished its object of preventing our getting in his rear. We took about eight hundred prisoners, nearly all of whom were regulars in the United States army. Major Coolidge, of the Sixteenth United States infantry, was killed. Captain Van Pelt, of Loomis' battery, was captured by the Eighth Arkansas and First Louisiana infantry. Of the pieces captured, four were secured by Govan's brigade and one by Walthall's. I refer to the reports of brigade commanders for particulars. Colonel Featherston, of the Fifth Arkansas, was killed early in the first action. Colonel Gillespie and Lieutenant-Colonel Baulcum were both wounded. In Brigadier-General Walthall's brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel McKelvane, Twenty-fourth Mississippi, Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan, Twenty-ninth Mississippi, Major Pegram, Thirty-fourth Mississippi, Major Staples, Twenty-fourth Mississippi, Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, Twenty-seventh Mississippi, Major Johnson, Thirtieth Mississippi, and Lieutenant-Colonel Reynolds, Thirtieth Mississippi, were wounded, the last mortally. Officers and men of both brigades behaved with unusual gallantry, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that they did their duty to their country, side by side, against greater odds than they have hitherto met. Although no brilliant results were directly accomplished, the record for hard fighting cannot be well surpassed. In my humble opinion it is the best evidence of good
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.